I’ve been telling you what players I’d rather the Falcons not pursue: Julius Peppers, Dunta Robinson, even C.J. Spiller. Today, for variety’s sake, I offer one they should target, and he’s a big man with a big name:
Kyle Vanden Bosch.
He’s a defensive end. He has been a top-flight pass rusher, though not lately. He had only three sacks for Tennessee in 2009. (Still, that’s better than Jamaal Anderson has managed in his career.) He’s an effort guy, a leadership guy. I’m not saying he’s a long-term fix — he’s 31 — but he’ll become a free agent tomorrow and he just made the Pro Bowl for the third time.
Understand: I wouldn’t break the budget to get him. But he’s widely seen as the second-best free agent DE available — after Peppers, who’s believed to have turned down $14 million a year to remain with Carolina. Vanden Bosch, by way of contrast, earned $5.3 million in 2009.
And here’s a recommendation, albeit a backhanded one: The Titans are letting him shop himself around but haven’t ruled out re-signing him. Here, via John Niyo of the Detroit News, is what Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher says about KVB: “I can’t think of anybody who wouldn’t want Kyle on the roster the way he plays and the way he practices. He is a great influence on younger players.”
One bit of background: Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff has long held Vanden Bosch in high regard. You might recall that the third exhibition of the 2008 preseason was against Tennessee, and that preseason game convinced the Falcons it was safe to start Matt Ryan in Week 1 of his rookie season. Why? Because left tackle Sam Baker, also a rookie, held his own that night against KVB, who was regarded as a yardstick.
Let’s also recall last season’s Dimitroff watchwords: Urgency and consistency. I don’t believe those fit Julius Peppers. I do believe they fit Vanden Bosch. And now you’re free, as ever, to tell me how wrong I am.